If you were to ask young Rochester residents where they go and hang out on a weekend night after a long week of school or work, they would undoubtedly say the Alexander and East area. There you have your choice of various bars and clubs which adorn the night life atmosphere. Whether it’s hanging out at Mex’s, enjoying the ambiance of Pearl or catching up with old friends at Whiskey, you are bound to run into your fair share of party-goers somewhere in this area.

And then there’s Soho – by far the quintessential representation of chic elegance and trend-setting style; it is to Rochester what the Pink Elephant is to Manhattan, give or take a few accessories and patrons. The choice is yours – sit out on the roof deck for a view of the city, lounge around the bar and sample the various beverage offerings, hit the dance floor and indulge the talent of the DJ or socialize in the relaxing lounge in the back to regain your composure after experiencing the aforementioned.

Having done all of these, it is no wonder that I can recall with preciseness how the night turns out. However, you can imagine my astonishment to find that Soho did not become a part of my weekend regime. To put it simply, I was told that my “jeans were too baggy.” I recall the incident oh so clearly. As I waited in line with a group of friends to enter the club, I knew from routine to have my cover charge and photo ID out and ready to gain entry. As I came face to face with the door man, he immediately glanced down at me and said, “I am sorry, but you can’t come in.” When I asked why, he said, “Because your jeans are too baggy.” Just as he said this, I noticed that two men ahead of me had just gained entry with jeans big enough to accommodate a significant amount of weight gain.

As I contemplated the possible reason for my denial, I thought for a moment – is it possible that in this big and vast world there exist more than one manufacturer of jeans? Or is it possible that some designer made the unconventional choice to produce a variety of jean styles? At the very least, could it be possible that there exist more than one physical make up of a person where they come in different shapes and sizes?

Take the Calvin Klein Jean collection, for example. If you were to look at the pants’ fit, you would have to choose from classic fit, low rise, relaxed fit, slim fit and loose fit. Then you would have to choose from the pants’ leg cut: boot cut, cropped, flare cuffed and straight leg. Let us not forget the material: cotton, twill, denim, Lenin, down, corduroy and leather. Now, it also has to be considered that this is just the choice for this particular brand.

With these factors in mind, there is no wonder I was turned away from Soho; the odds were not in my favor. Now, I am totally aware of clubs having strict dress codes and stringent measures of maintaining a lively night club; however, this did not make sense.

Notwithstanding, I would be remiss if I did not mention that my jeans were not hanging below my waist and were my appropriate size. I also should mention that this happened on more than one occasion on different nights. In addition, I witnessed this happening to others. Is it a major coincidence that the others happen to be African American?

Soho is not alone in their practice of this policy – Coyote Joe’s has also followed the lead, but to a greater extent. They not only impose the “baggy jean” rule, but also appear to disapprove of people walking in groups to their establishment. It just so happens that a group of college students were denied entry into the club during hours that Coyote Joe’s was in full operation. It also just so happens that this group of students was composed of predominantly African Americans. While this incident may not be race related, one would be led to think otherwise, given the recurrence of the situation.

Maybe Soho and Coyote Joe’s have achieved such star-studded status that they can enforce non-economical, unwarranted and speculative policies to maintain their premiere status as the clubs of choice in the city of Rochester. Although, with a policy like “No Baggy Jeans” in place, I question how long they can sustain this position.

Wilcox is a graduate student.



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